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Summary: Your eyes may glaze over when you read the headlines about stem-cell research—debates over moral quandaries, federal funding, and legislative decisions about regulation. But you need to pay attention and speak up: The next debate may be about your own wor

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This article is from BreakPoint WorldView magazine: http://www.breakpoint.org/contentindex.asp?ID=146.

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Your eyes may glaze over when you read the headlines about stem-cell research--debates over moral quandaries, federal funding, and legislative decisions about regulation. But you need to pay attention and speak up: The next debate may be about your own worth.

Much of the news you read or hear about focuses on embryonic stem-cell research--heralded as "vital" to medical research. However, while much study has focused on embryo-destructive research, nothing of significance has come of it: It has not worked. Meanwhile, reports about adult stem-cell research, which does not require destroying a human embryo to extract a stem cell, are beginning to appear frequently. For example, the Los Angeles Times recently reported that treatment using umbilical and marrow cells healed one boy of a fatal skin disease--thus, the treatment’s success may move that same disease "off the incurable list" for other patients.

Australian researchers have also joined in the race to advance ethical stem-cell research, producing stem cells from skin cells or adult cells, rather than from human embryos that are later destroyed. "What you then have the capacity to do with this type of cell or this technology is to make both patient-specific and disease-specific stem cell lines," said Dr. Andrew Laslett of the Australian Stem Cell Centre. Groups in the United States, Japan, Scotland, Germany, and China are also pursuing this line of research.

Carron Morrow, as I noted on "BreakPoint" last August, can testify to the efficacy of ethical stem-cell research. In critical need of a new heart, Carron agreed to an experimental study that utilized her own bone marrow from her left hip. After cultivation, 30 million stem cells were injected into the right side of her heart. After she underwent a CT scan four months later, the doctor declared her heart to be "normal."

So what’s the problem? If science is on the side of ethical research, then why are we still debating the moral problems with embryonic stem-cell research? Because it’s not about science--it’s about worldview.

SCIENCE AS WORLDVIEW

When scientists in Japan and Wisconsin announced a breakthrough in stem-cell research--reprogramming skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells--the news outlets expressed a hopeful end to the seemingly dreary debate. But as I said at the time, the struggle is far from over. There is a principle at stake--and advocates of embryo-destructive research don’t want to surrender it.

You see, winning the embryo-research debate is not about curing disease: It is about taking the upper hand over pro-life advocates, depicting them as hard-headed and uncaring. It’s a political battle.

It is also a worldview battle: pitting scientific materialism against the biblical worldview, which holds that all human life is sacred, from its earliest stages until natural death. The biblical view places restrictions on what we do to human embryos. Scientists and proponents of embryo research do not want restrictions, because they place science as the highest source of knowledge and morality. They worship, so to speak, at the altar of scientism.


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